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Former Obama Health Care Official Who Now Wants to Be Governor Unveils Gun Control Plan


“I will be a relentless advocate for comprehensive national gun safety laws."

Donald Berwick, who sources say will resign effective Dec. 2. (Photo: AP)

Donald Berwick, the former head of Medicare and Medicaid, was most well known for saying the country should “ration care” and that health care is “by definition redistributional.” Now, as a candidate for governor of Massachusetts, he is going after guns.

Democrat Donald Berwick answers a question as Democrat Martha Coakley, right, sits near during a forum on housing between six Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates at historic Faneuil Hall, Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Boston. (AP Photo Stephan Savoia)

Berwick announced his gun control plan Wednesday

His plan includes a ban on so called assault weapons, saying “Weapons of war have no place on our streets. I oppose automatic weapons and favor the strictest possible restrictions on semi-automatic and high magazine weapons.”

He states he would limit purchase to one gun per month and support more comprehensive background checks “with teeth necessary to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals.”

If elected governor, Berwick also said he would lobby for more strict federal laws.

"Many of the illegal guns in Massachusetts come across state lines from New Hampshire, New York and Vermont,” Berwick said. “I will be a relentless advocate for comprehensive national gun safety laws, and I will work with neighboring governors to crack down on interstate gun commerce.”

The announcement comes amid debate over a gun control bill in the Massachusetts state legislature. One provision stripped from that bill would have allowed local police to have more discretion in granting gun licenses.

Berwick said he would bring this proposal back.

“Giving increased discretion for our police chiefs to bar dangerous individuals from obtaining rifles and shotguns makes sense,” he said. “Despite the best efforts of our dedicated law enforcement personnel, we face an epidemic of gun violence in our Commonwealth. This provision will give law enforcement a valuable tool in preventing violence and will save lives in Massachusetts.”

Berwick is challenging state Attorney General Martha Coakley and state Treasurer Steve Grossman in the Democratic primary. Businessman Charles Baker is the Republican candidate for governor.

President Barack Obama nominated Berwick to be administrator to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2010, but because of controversial comments, there was not enough support in the Senate to approve the nomination, so Obama recess appointed him. He resigned in 2011 and joined the liberal Center for American Progress the following year.

In 2008, Berwick praised the single payer system in Great Britain.

“Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must—must—redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional. Britain, you chose well.”

The next year, in an interview in the journal Biotechnology Healthcare, Berwick said, “We make those decisions all the time. The decision is not whether or not we will ration care—the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”

(H/T: Mass Live)


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